Author's note: What is this? This is a spin-off of The Champions, my ongoing story about a team of superheroes. This story stars the eponymous Aegis, real name Rika Laskari, a 17-year-old superhero in Athens, Greece. I have never been to Greece, so I apologize in advance for anything I get totally wrong. You don't need to read The Champions first in order to understand and enjoy this story. The quick version is this: Superhumans exist, Rika has a force field, she spent a few months at a US school run by superheroes (the Champions themselves), she realized she's gay, the school closed, she went home. She was also given a shield, made of steel but with the look of bronze (with a Medusa-head design on it), that has an anti-gravity device and a guidance system that returns it to her when she throws it. If you want any more details, please, feel free to ask, and I will answer, as long as it won't give away any plot points I'll be getting to later on. Please make sure to let me know what you think of this story.

January 11, 2013

Chunks of concrete sprayed the air as a huge metal fist slammed into the road, but the target was no longer there. A stream of flame from above began to heat the metal, until a car was thrown at the source. A swift-moving form hit the metal form hard, but barely staggered it. "This is getting us nowhere," the flying woman said.

A large suit of armour, 15' tall, was rampaging through Athens. The man inside was shouting something about liberty and democracy, but since he hadn't thought to include speakers in his suit, it was virtually impossible to hear him. Opposing him were Phoenix, Steel Wing and Renegade: The Defenders of Athens. Phoenix was the team's leader, a man with a handle-bar mustache and long hair, wearing a red costume with an orange-red bird design, and surrounded by an aura of fire. Blue Steel was a former Flight Lieutenant in the Greek Air Force; now, she wore a blue suit of powered armour that granted her flight, enhanced strength, concussive blasts, and a few other advantages. Renegade was an alien who always wore his black-and-red body armour. No one had ever seen him outside of it, so no one knew what he looked like. He seemed to be mostly humanoid, except for having only three fingers on each hand. He was a skilled fighter, armed with a laser rifle and low-level telekinetic powers.

"That suit incorporates elements of darkith design," Renegade said in his rough, gravelly voice. "It's not going to run out of power any time soon."

"I don't know what 'darkith design' is," Blue Steel said, "but it's definitely got a lot of power."

"Just keep hitting it!" Phoenix ordered. "It has to go down eventually!"

"Unless we go down first," Blue Steel muttered. She swooped down and hit the suit again, but a large hand grabbed her leg before she could get out of range. "Damn!" she shouted. She fired her blasts, but she may as well have been hitting the armour with laser pointers for all the good she did. She felt whiplash as her armour was thrown to the ground with enough force to shatter the cement. The man was still holding her leg, and he swung her around and slammed her into the ground again, and a third time, the impacts jarring her even through the padding inside the reinforced steel she wore. She was swung again, but this time the assailant let go, and she sped forward, bounced off a car, smashed through a lamppost, and finally slammed into another car, nearly going right through it before she stopped.

Phoenix once again tried to burn it from behind, hoping to melt the steel, or at least the circuits inside. The armour turned around and fired a blast, which Phoenix avoided. A second beam grazed him, and his concentration broke, causing him to fall to the ground. He struggled to remain conscious, while the armour took a step towards him and raised its arm.

It paused when something bounced off it with a clang. A metal disk spun back to its owner. It was a girl wearing a breastplate, greaves, and arm bands, all seemingly of bronze, and a white skirt down to her knees. There was also a red cowl, with a small bronze helmet over it. The shield also seemed to be made of bronze, and had a Medusa-head design. "Back off!" Aegis shouted at the villain. "He may be a pain in the ass, but he's our pain in the ass!"

She made her way over to Phoenix while the villain sized her up. It fired an energy blast at her, but she held her shield up and reflected it back. She didn't actually need the shield; she had a force field, which was what she actually used to reflect the attack. However, she tried to keep her force field a secret, just in case. So as far as anyone else was concerned, the shield was the source of her powers.

The armour fired several more beams, and Aegis bounced them all back. Unfortunately, they weren't doing any damage. "Do we have a plan?" she asked into the mic in her helmet. "Steel? Renegade? Anything?"

"Just keep it distracted," Renegade said. "I'll take care of it."

"Great," Aegis replied. "How long? Renegade? Are you still there? Argh!" she shouted angrily. Renegade could be frustrating at times.

A sharp pressure in her brain reminded her of the danger she was in. Every time her force field was hit, she felt it. She was tough, but eventually, it would overwhelm her. She also noticed that the armour had been getting closer. She didn't think she wanted to be there when it reached where she was crouching. "Hey, Phoenix," she shook the man behind her. "Phoenix! Get up! Big metal death-machine moving towards us! I can't move until you do!"

"Urgh," Phoenix groaned. "I think – unh – I think I'm OK."

"Then fly!" she shouted, the proximity of the armour making her nervous. She felt her heart pounding.

"Right!" Phoenix launched himself into the sky as the robot's huge fist came down on Aegis.

She felt it hit her force field, and the force of it reverberated through her body. She saw spots in front of her eyes, and was mildly amazed to find herself still conscious. She saw the hand raised again, but she wasn't going to wait for it to come down. She ducked between its legs, hitting the knees on her way through. Then she had an idea.

This is a terrible idea, she thought to herself. I can just imagine what all my friends from America would say if they saw me do this. The thought made her smile.

Before the villain could turn around, she jumped on the back of the armour. She clung to it as it tried to grab her, and she looked for a panel, a seam, a loose wire, anything she might be able to exploit to stop it. Despite the danger, she felt like laughing. It was just such a ridiculous situation for a 17-year-old girl to be in.

"What do you think you're doing?!" Phoenix shouted at her. "Get off him!"

"I know what I'm doing!" she replied. I have no idea what I'm doing. The opposite of what I should be doing, I suppose.

"You're stealing my plan," Renegade told her. "Get off so I can stop that hunk of crap."

"About damned time!" she shouted as she jumped off. She hit the ground in a roll and was back on her feet just in time to see Renegade land on the armour. He slapped something on and jumped off. "Should I be looking for cover?" she asked him.

"Don't bother," Renegade replied. "It's acid, not a bomb."

The armour turned around, and looked at each of them. It raised its arms to aim at both. "Get behind me," Aegis told Renegade.

"Not necessary," Blue Steel said as she flew quickly overhead and swooped down to slam a fist into the back of the armour, where the acid had been applied. When she pulled back her hand, it was full of wires and circuits. The armour seemed to tense up, then the arms dropped as it powered down.

Aegis let out a small sigh of relief as Phoenix landed in front of the armour. She was glad to have that fight over. She'd be glad to have some aspirin and a big meal. But first, of course, they needed to know who was inside the armour.

"All right, come on out," Phoenix demanded. "You can come out the easy way, or we can tear you out."

"Unless he actually can't come out the easy way," Aegis said. "I mean, for all we know, he might not be able to open this thing without power."

"Blue Steel," Phoenix said. "Get this tin can open."

"You sure we can't just leave him in here?" Blue Steel joked. She grabbed the bottom of the cockpit door, and pulled. Aegis held her shield up in what she hoped was an intimidating pose as it opened. Inside was a chubby, balding, middle-aged man in a black bodysuit. "Oh, that I didn't need to see," Steel mumbled.

Phoenix grabbed the pilot and pulled him out of the armour, disconnecting him from a number of wires in the process. "Well?" he asked the man. The man simply quivered in fear.

"I say we just kill him," Renegade said.

"That's your answer to everything," Steel said with a verbal roll of her eyes.

"And it's the right answer to everything," he retorted.

"Quiet," Phoenix said. Aegis tried to look tough, but was having trouble not laughing. "Why did you do this?" Phoenix asked the man. "Why?!"

The man fainted.

"So much for the interrogation," Aegis chuckled.

Phoenix let the man drop. "Why aren't you in school?" he asked Aegis.

"Sorry, I had to come save your life," she said with an innocent smile.

"Yes, well, I appreciate that," he said awkwardly. "But I thought I made it clear to you that superheroics were not to interfere with your schooling."

"I know, I know. Don't worry, I didn't have to go to class today. We were given a study period."

"Oh. Good. As long as you're not skipping."

"Of course not. I'm nothing if not responsible." She grinned. Phoenix rolled his eyes.

"Well, as long as you've got some time, you want a ride to headquarters?" Steel asked her.

"Thanks, no. I'm meeting a friend at the library. Actually, I'd better hurry."

A few minutes later, Aegis was no more, and Rika Laskari was riding her bike down a busy street. One of these days, she decided, I'm going to learn how to fly.